The issue over the delayed Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee report, including the audited financial statements, to the POC re-emerged Wednesday during the admission of the newly formed Philippine National Volleyball Federation Inc., led by Ramon Suzara, to the national Olympic body.
Raising his concern during the general assembly meeting held at Grand Hyatt Manila and online was weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella, who cited that Suzara was also the president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Foundation Inc.
In its September 30 resolution, the POC ordered the Phisgoc, chaired by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, to submit its report on its management of the 30th SEA Games that concluded on December 11, 2019, which it had failed to do until now.
Suzara was elected president of the new volleyball group by 31 of 32 stakeholders present in polls supervised by the POC, working on instructions of the International Volleyball Federation, the world volleyball body, last Monday at the East Ocean Plaza Restaurant in Parañaque.
Meeting online last Tuesday, the new POC Executive Board affirmed the results of the election and granted its provisional recognition of the Suzara-led group, which had been expected to be ratified without a hitch by the general assembly.
But before the decision could be made, Puentevella, who was present in-person during the meeting, motioned the body to reconsider its approval.
“In fairness to the POC, let me be the first to endorse Mr. Suzara as volleyball president if and when he complies with the demand of the POC approved by the POC general assembly but he must comply before he becomes a member of this august body,” the former lawmaker and Bacolod City mayor explained.
“If you allow this personality (Suzara) to join us, we will be the laughingstock of sports loving people.”
Authorized by POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, the regular presiding officer who attended the meeting online, POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino took over the session and had a heated exchange with Puentevella before the move was made.
POC secretary-general lawyer Ed Gastanes, who was in charge of the polls last Monday, intervened and explained that Puentevella’s concern was an “extraneous” issue.
Gastanes pointed to POC bodies, such as the POC arbitration and ethics commissions, where the former Puentevella could file his grievance to handle the matter.
“The poor guy (Suzara) has to be given the opportunity to defend himself and where it should be done, but by a proper body such as POC Ethics Commission and POC Arbitration Commission Let’s make use of that,” Gastanes said.
Puentevella countered he had no qualms about the new volleyball organization “but the personality of Suzara,” and was subsequently overruled.
The POC general assembly thus ratified the provisional status of the PNVI as the sport’s national governing body of the country.
In relation to this development, the motion of kickboxing secretary general and POC legal counsel Atty. Wharton Chan for the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. and the Philippine Volleyball Federation, which has been disputing the volleyball leadership in the country, was also approved unanimously.
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Squash chief Robert Bachmann asked Tolentino if the $80,000 the LVPI, headed by former POC first vice president Joey Romasanta, to the FIVB, the French acronym of the world volleyball body, so it could regain provisional recognition would be returned back to the association.
Gastanes said this was an internal matter to be taken up by PNVI members with the assistance of the POC.
Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico, who initiated the September 30 motion requiring the Phisgoc to submit its report, wondered why Suzara put FESSAP as the volleyball group he represented “because I don’t know anything about FESSAP.”
FESSAP stands for Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines co-founded by former Basketball Association of the Philippines secretary general Graham Lim and has a strong base in Cebu where Suzara was born.
Meanwhile, Tolentino announced that his pet project of having a permanent office building for the POC was approved unanimously by the board.
“We are looking for a property at the Cultural Center of the Philippine complex where the POC’s stand-alone building will be constructed. We hope to get this with the help of the government and the private sector,” said Tolentino, who is also a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
He also repeated the announcement of the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach last week that the Tokyo Olympics will proceed as scheduled in July “and there is no Plan B.”
Tolentino likewise named 3 more individuals who will be the chef de mission of separate international competitions: Roller sports head Carl Sambrano for the 2021 Asian Youth Games, golf secretary-general Bones Floro for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and surfing head Dr. Raul Canlas to the Hangzhou Asian Games, respectively.
Earlier named as heads to the PH delegation to the 31st Vietnam SEA Games in November was commissioner Ramon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission, and karate head Ricky Lim for the national squad for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which has been reset to next year.